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Final Exams: Brad Guzan

Mr. Clean Sheet.

MLS: Eastern Conference Knockout Round-Columbus Crew at Atlanta United FC John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Brad Guzan

Position: Goalkeeper

Matches Played: 14

Saves: 38

Clean Sheets: 8

It took him a while to get here, but Brad Guzan made an immediate statement in his first match with Atlanta United after stopping a plethora of tough shots at Orlando City. He rode that momentum for the rest of the season, keeping a clean sheet in more than half his appearances.

What went right this season: As mentioned, it didn't take Guzan any time to adapt to his settings. There was never a doubt in Tata Martino's mind that Guzan was going to be the starting keeper, even with the solid play of Alec Kann to begin the season, because Guzan never gave Martino a reason to think otherwise. His eight clean sheets were good enough for the Top 10 among MLS keepers and he played in less than half the matches. The Big Wall of Bald should be in between the sticks for the Five Stripes a few more years.

What does he need to improve on: A complaint about Guzan that's followed him almost everywhere he's gone is his bad habit for silly mistakes. Although there really haven't been that many during his time in Atlanta, one specific instance came during the third match against Orlando City when Guzan attempted to clear a cross in the box aimed for Dom Dwyer, but instead completely whiffed on the punch and allowed Dwyer to complete his brace with a simple tap-in. I'll admit it's a little overly critical. All keepers make a mistake at one point or another. It's tough to find blemishes on a strong debut season for Guzan, but perhaps this one is worth notice.

What role will he play in 2018: Well, duh. Guzan was surprisingly one of the best transfers Atlanta made last season. A majority of people thought that using the first priority in the Player Allocation Ranking on a goalkeeper was a mistake and that a club should never overpay for one. Well, Guzan has proven to be worth every penny in this short sample size. He will be relied on for years to come.

Grade: A